Visit Florida Fights for Funding: Should your taxes support tourism agencies?

Politicians in Florida were recently embroiled in a hot debate over the state’s need to fund tourism bureaus. Governor DeSantis and the Senate fought to maintain Visit Florida’s standard budget. The statewide organization relies upon this funding to bring tourists to cities throughout the peninsula. The House argued that growth in tourism will continue with or without tax-funded advertising.

Visit Florida does more than market sunny beaches. It tackles crisis communication in emergency situations. This helps to positively alter public perception on tourism threats like red tide, and zika virus. The organization also contributes funds to events and programs. These include Pride Fort Lauderdale, the Tortuga Music Festival and film incentives. Funded by taxes levied on hotel rentals throughout the state, advertising dollars and sponsorships paid toward these events doesn’t defer funding from other programs paid for by taxes on residents and state sales tax. Tourism development councils may also push consumers to areas that would otherwise suffer from low revenue outside of snowbird season.

Further debate occurred over infrastructure repair. Should it be funded by the hotel tax legally? Politicians agreed to fund infrastructure repair and growth if failing to do so would limit tourism.

Visit Florida has agreed to forge ahead with a budget of $50 million dollars. This is less than previous years but hopefully enough to continue to grow tourism throughout the state. Read the full article at the Sun Sentinel.

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